By Brian Trehearne
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Additional resources for Aestheticism and the Canadian Modernists: Aspects of a Poetic Influence
Such seizing of "moments" is another example of the Aesthetic attempt to submit to and yet to stabilize the Heraclitean flux of which Pater had made so much in his Conclusion to The Renaissance and his Marius the Epicurean. "30 [Hauser] says that Impressionism is Heraclitean and makes reality not a being but a becoming ... By virtue of this perception and valuation of the becoming, the movement, the lustre of change, I would agree with Hauser and those who like him regard "transience" as a leading characteristic of Impressionism, or at any rate of its heirs.
Both seem, as a result, simpler and more superficial than they truly were and more truly Imagistic even than they desired to be. Attractions revealed in the wider range of their poetry in fact cut deeply against the Imagist grain: to such preoccupations of Aestheticism as fragility, beauty, death, and the rushing by of time. E. Ross and Raymond Knister ship between Imagism and literary Impressionism, we can reveal the degree to which Ross and Knister were the beneficiaries of many theoretical and poetic trends of late nineteenth-century English literature.
One of the difficulties of defining Imagism is that the movement largely defined itself against other literary practice, so that the clearest picture one can generate in turn is usually negative, that is, based on a sense of what Imagism was not. The theoretical advantages of such dialectical definition are clear: by remarking Imagism's revolt against previous schools we establish an historical context in which the polemical and antinomian features of the Modernist pre-school may be highlighted.
Aestheticism and the Canadian Modernists: Aspects of a Poetic Influence by Brian Trehearne